Here’s everything in the world of beer and pubs that’s caught our attention in the last week, from the fate of a beloved Birmingham venue to grim visions of the future.
First, Martyn Cornell has a thought-provoking post on the morality of drinking bottles of beer that cost 89p:
Beer hasn’t been that cheap in a pub for nearly 30 years. It’s a crime against economics, and a threat to every other brewer, great and small, trying to scrabble a living selling good beer on thin margins… Dear reader, how do I match the exceeding, and exceedingly cheap, pleasure I get from this beer with the guilt I wrestle to suppress, fearing that every bottle I buy pushes a Heriot-Watt graduate working for a small brewer utterly unable to compete on price with an 89p cracker closer to redundancy?
(The less squeamish among you will read that post and rightly think that if Martyn rates Banks’s bottled bitter so highly, it’s probably worth checking out, especially at that price.)
We visited The Craven Arms in Birmingham for the first time this summer and enjoyed its distinctive mash-up of craft beer culture and traditional pub. Local drinkers are now up in arms over the news that the people who gave it this reputation, Sharon and Chris Sherratt, are leaving, after some kind of dispute with the pub’s owners, Black Country Ales. In his take on the situation Stuart Harrison sums up the appeal of the pub…
[It] was a truly democratic space. As well as a fine selection of beers from a wide range of craft breweries, it also had a decent selection of traditional ales, as well as (shock horror!) Carling and Guinness. This meant that it was a great spot to take your dad, your tight uncle who won’t spend more than £3 on a pint, or your lager loving mates, without fear of alienating them. There were even cobs behind the bar, which is sadly a dying trend round these parts.
…while Glenn Johnson at My World of Beer is, in effect, calling for a boycott:
So all you beer lovers out there looking for places to drink in Birmingham please strike this from your list. It’s a hard climb up Gough Street to this pub and you really should save yourself all that effort and avoid it. If you like bland, boring beer than it might be the place for you because it is still a fabulous building, but I’m sure BCA will do their worst with it.